Final CEO summit focuses on pandemic recovery . . .
On November 11 and 12, leaders from across the Asia Pacific gathered virtually to discuss the state of regional economic affairs at this year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit, hosted by New Zealand. The summit is an annual forum for CEOs, business leaders, thought leaders, prime ministers, and presidents of APEC economies to gather and discuss key challenges facing the APEC region. In her opening speech, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern noted that to achieve inclusive and sustainable recovery, post-pandemic co-operation must involve both the public and private sectors. The summit complemented the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, after which APEC leaders released their annual declaration.
Indigenous peoples, sustainable growth . . .
The 2021 APEC CEO Summit touched on five main themes: The state of the world with and post-COVID, digital transformation, business as a force for good, the future of energy, and sustainability. Leaders reinforced their commitment to combating the pandemic by ensuring equitable access to vaccines, and some leaders pledged to freeze US$500 billion in fossil fuel subsidies to help arrest climate change. For the first time, they also highlighted the importance of Indigenous economies as drivers of pandemic recovery with the inclusion of Indigenous perspectives. Through its Aotearoa Plan of Action, New Zealand has committed to three economic drivers of action, including trade and investment, innovation and digitalization, and sustainable and inclusive growth to monitor individual and collective action of all APEC members. These goals bring the region closer to achieving APEC’s Putrajaya Vision 2040 to build an open, dynamic, and resilient Asia Pacific community.
Thailand declares 2022 APEC theme . . .
As New Zealand wraps its hosting year, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha attended a virtual handover ceremony as the incoming APEC Chair. Declaring the 2022 APEC theme "Open. Connect. Balance.,” Thailand’s hosting year will likely see a return to in-person events. Over the weekend, Prime Minister Ardern noted she was also very pleased that the United States and Peru have offered to host APEC meetings in 2023 and 2024, respectively, and that she “looks forward to future hosting arrangements being confirmed as soon as possible.” However, APEC hosting requires the consensus of all 21-member economies, and media reports suggest that Russia is hindering consensusunless the U.S. agrees to lift travel restrictions on several sanctioned Russians.